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Legal Aid For Czechs A Joke - Mark

Media Release
30 January 2004

Legal Aid For Czechs A Joke - Mark

New Zealand First law and order spokesperson Ron Mark is appalled that the Legal Services Agency has granted a top academic and a noted botanist legal aid.

The two Czech citizens have been given legal aid to defend charges of smuggling native plants and orchids out of New Zealand.

“I would have thought two well respected academics would have been able to pay for their own defence, it is not cheap to fly from Czechoslovakia in pursuit of orchids, so where did they get the money for that?” said Mr Mark.

This case highlights the flaws in the legal aid process. Granting them legal aid sets a ridiculous precedent because it signals to international criminals that New Zealand is a soft touch.

There would be few countries in the world that would treat foreign criminals in the same soft way our Labour Government does. These men have committed a crime and they should not be entitled to legal aid at the expense of the New Zealand taxpayers.” Mr Mark said.

The Government must act now to correct the flaws within our legal system. It should not be up to the taxpayer to pay for foreigners who commit crimes in New Zealand to have legal representation,” said Mr Mark


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